Despite progress, California's Latino students still face multiple educational challenges
- Over the past decade, the number of Latino students in California completing an associate or bachelor’s degree has doubled, and the dropout rate among these students has fallen from 27% in 1994 to 13% in 2015. But Latino 3- and 4-year-olds in the state are still far less likely to attend preschool than young white, black and Asian children, and in school, they are more likely to have a less effective teacher, to attend a school without an arts programs to have less access to courses required for admission to the state’s two university systems.
- These are just a few of the findings of “The Majority Report” from The Education Trust-West, which recounts the history of educational opportunities for California’s largest ethnic group and provides a detailed look at where gaps still exist. In 2017, for example, less than a third of Latino 3rd graders met or exceeded the state’s English standards, the report says, and 20% of middle school students did not pass algebra 1, which is required for higher-level math classes in high school.
- The report recommends that school and district leaders increase efforts to ensure that more young Latino children are attending preschool, perhaps by forming partnerships with local early education providers, that they train teachers to create “a culture of high expectations” for all students, and that they increase efforts to help students succeed in higher-level courses that prepare them for college.
The authors also profile several programs and initiatives that have been shown to improve Latino students’ access to early learning programs and to provide additional academic support across the K-12 years and through their transition into college. For example, Fillmore Unified School District in Ventura County offers a low or no-cost Spanish-English preschool program in which teachers use the Sobrato Early Academic Language curriculum, alternating between full days of English instruction and full days of Spanish instruction.
The San Francisco Unified School District implemented a model in which all middle school students take the same sequence of Common Core-aligned math classes, which gives them access to high school courses that make them eligible for the state’s university systems.Also throughout many Bay Area school districts, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation supports Elevate [Math], in which middle school students can preview the math curriculum for the next grade during a four-week summer course. The program has increased students’ readiness for algebra.
The report also highlights programs serving the state’s 51,000 Latino migrant students. The California Mini-Corps, for example, hires bilingual college students to serve as tutors for migrant students during school hours and in
the summer. Participants in the corps also receive coaching from a certified teacher and a large percentage of them pursue a teaching credential or a permit, which helps to diversify the workforce, the report says.
Follow Linda Jacobson on Twitter